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Broken Back and an Avalanche

Everything is a gift

Undoubtedly, we hear or say this often, don’t we?  “Everything is a gift”.  And then life comes along and we get to see whether or not we believe it, and if we can live it at the moment.  

If you learn to love everything that arises, then suffering is optional. 

You can have pain without suffering.  

This is what I realized when I broke my back 8 days ago.  The sensations were intense, it took my breath away, it hurt to move, and I didn’t suffer at all.  I did not let my mind run wild with stories about what it meant.  The only story I entertained was, “This is the experience I am having, let me love that.  I am so grateful.”  I even felt a sense of Joy through all of the pain.  

The Avalanche

Let’s go back in time a little to March 12th, 2022 this year.  I was guiding alongside my friend and co-worker.  We split up and went in different directions.  He was coming down to meet me and got caught in an avalanche buried over 6 feet deep.  Myself, and a group of 6 ladies who were with us, dug him out.  It took 23 minutes to get an airway, and he was alive.  He was unconscious but alive.  

At the moment, I could have let my mind go to many different places, however, there was work to be done, and freaking out would not help anything.  I remained calm and took charge.  It happened naturally.  It sounded like, “Everyone put your beacons to search. You call 911.  You come with me. Everyone else put your skins on in case he is higher.”  And then we moved, we probed, and we dug non-stop from a place of love and determination.  It would have been a waste of energy to entertain thoughts of death when digging for life was the work to be done.  

Understanding my thoughts

I have been practicing for years paying attention to my thoughts and choosing what to think and believe instead of letting unconscious beliefs run the show. Undoubtedly, these events were opportunities to let beauty unfold amongst the chaos.  I am still working on understanding my thoughts, refining them, and seeing which ones serve me and which hold me back.  

After the avalanche, I looked back at my energy and thoughts beforehand.  I found that I felt the need to rush things a bit.  I see that I had some thoughts of wanting to please the clients, to keep things moving, and to deliver to them a great day skiing.  

In reality, no one was rushing me, it was all in my head.  Looking back, I can see how there was a perfect moment to pause and have a group discussion.  It was after I had dug a pit and decided to not ski a slope and go a different way.  Just then the other group was coming up.  Willie and I briefly discussed our plans and headed off.  Now, I can envision myself slowing things down and inviting in a deeper conversation.  Powerfully, I can see catching any thoughts of needing to move faster, or please others, and bringing my mind back to the clarity and joy of the present moment.  

Honestly, there was no one to please, they were all already pleased.  

Willie is ok now and on his healing journey.  All of the ladies are on their healing journey as we all decipher the gifts here for them.  

The Work

Just before the avalanche, I had begun listening to Byron Katie.  It was rocking my world.  Then I used her method called, “The Work” to sort through all my thoughts and emotions after the rescue.  It helped me so much.  I hired a Byron Katie coach to walk me through the process.  The healing was amazing.  

Between the Avalanche event and the day I broke my back, I listened to all four of her books.  The last one I listened to is called,  A Thousand Names for Joy.  It is like music to my ears.  I have listened to it 3 times.  

My Back

So when I broke my back, I was right there fully present with my pain and the joy of the moment.  I felt calm and clear.  Therefore, I took charge again and began to orchestrate my rescue.  I knew exactly what I needed.  

Apparently, I broke the L1 and L2 vertebrae.  I have 2 non-displaced fractures of the transverse processes.  The healing process is happening so quickly for me.  Poractively, I have been doubling up on my celery juice drinking my normal 32 oz in the morning and another 16-32 oz in the afternoon.  I do this just to give my body the extra boost in healing with electrolytes, vitamins, phytochemicals, and sodium cluster salts that plain celery juice on an empty stomach can provide.  In addition, I also took a little extra of my Vimergy brand (the purest) zinc, B-12, and micro-C.  

After just a week, I can walk and do many stretches, I can now twist and bend somewhat as well.  I can sit on the floor crosslegged.  My body tells me what is good to do and what isn’t and I just listen.  Amazingly, yesterday I cleaned out my car, today I walked my dog by a stream.  Life is good.  

Gratitude for it all

My back is broken – good.  My back is healing fast – good.  My mind is oriented toward seeing that whatever arises is good. If I was laid out for a month and needing someone to take care of me – that would be good too.  I could catch up on movies.  

How I Broke my Back

Here is how I broke my back.  I was traversing out behind Todd inbounds at Snowbird.  There was some avalanche debris buried under some new snow on the track.  I didn’t see it coming at all.  I hit a chunk of debris and went flying headfirst downhill.  I landed on my back on a chunk of debris.  So unlike many of my past accidents, I was not trying to show off, go off a big jump, or impress anyone.  

I laid there feeling the intense sensations.  I soon realized that I could get pummeled where I was as I heard others hitting the same patch and getting thrown off.  I stoud up and slowly and carefully moved off the track out of harm’s way.  I saw two guys and asked them to help me.  I  ask one to come below me and the other to call my husband and ski patrol.  I slowly sidestepped downhill until the patrol got there.  I went to the clinic and my friend Allison was there to help me.  It was such a treat to hang out with her, Polly, and Trisha the amazing nurse, and Dr.  Then I went to Alta view for a Cat scan and had another amazing female Dr taking care of me.  I loved the people I met that day.  

I waited for an hour for the results, I found a position that didn’t hurt so bad on my side, and I listened to Byron Kaite’s, A Thousand Names for Joy.  I expanded my Joy and knew I was having the exact experience I was supposed to be having.  

The Healing Journey

The first few days afterward my back was really sensitive.  I didn’t sleep but I lay there in peace and gratitude.  Interestingly, I didn’t take pain medicine at the hospital or clinic because I was enjoying the clarity and I was able to manage the pain.  I did take some the first few nights and it was nice to take the edge off and feel more comfortable.  Surprisingly, the pain quickly diminished day after day leaving me in utter amazement at my healing.  Now, I feel nearly normal, though I am not going skiing or running any time too soon.  Life has asked me to slow down so I am enjoying the extra time to clean my house and write this blog.   

Your Intense Experiences

I am sure you have had some intense experiences this winter or spring.  If not, some other time.  Whether injury, illness, or losing a loved one we seem to be facing more challenges all the time.  Certainly, if you are suffering you may want to try, “The Work” by Byron Katie.  It is just 4 questions you ask yourself and then you turn your thoughts around and see from the inside what is true.  The only thing that causes our suffering is when we believe our thoughts.  

Your Wisdom

I would love to here the gifts that you have found from the challenges you have/are facing.  Shoot me a note or leave a comment so others can hear too.  What Wisdom has been arising within you?  

You see, no one is wiser than another.  We all have all of the infinite wisdom of the universe inside us.  I love this quote: 

“I am equal to all others neither above or below.”  

I first heard this from Deepak Chopra.  How often do we suffer from comparing ourselves to others.  We either one up ourselves –  I am better, smarter, faster, cooler than that person, or I am not as good as that person.  We do this all the time.  

Stop that and you will stop a lot of suffering!

An Incredible Winter

Certainly, I have had a wonderful and busy winter ski guiding.  Therefore, I have not been sharing much here on my blog or in the social media world.  My life has felt full.  In the mornings, I eat healthily, prepare food for my family and the day, then go ski guide all day, take my dog out, play with Bodhi (my 8-year-old son), and then make a healthy dinner and clean up.  

Now, spring is here and I have put my skis away to let my back heal.  I am accepting of all that arises.  And as I step outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the cool breeze in my hair, I feel ecstatic.  

What I love too is practicing seeing how we are all connected.  I imagine that we are really all one big energy showing up in all these ways we have imagined like:  tree, rock, water, you, me, us, them.  I try to wrap my brain around that idea.  It feels good.  When I do something for you I am doing it for me.  My job is to love even those who I would define as my worse enemy, which is why I send love to Putin as well.  

Ending suffering in the world starts by ending the suffering in you. 

Byron Katie explains that until we heal the suffering within ourselves, then there will be suffering in the world.  And until we can love everything, we can not fully love anything.  These are fun concepts to embrace and place with and they have a deep power to transform. 

Offerings for you: 

  1.  Have you ever had a Coach? 

It’s amazing.  I have some opening now for a few coaching spots.  Will it be you?  My job as a coach is to draw out of you your own inner wisdom.  Show up with and open mind and heart and see what you are capable of experiencing in life.  We will focus on mastering who you want to be in this moment.  Email today, [email protected],  for a 2 hour session of no charge to you and we can see if it feels like something that would serve you well.  Here is my website to learn more. 

  1.  Join us for an adventure. 

Here is what I have going this year. 

Learn to climb or rappel, 1/2 day or full day, single pitch and multi-pitch

  • Kids climbing camps – 

Todd and I are doing two kids’ rock camps with Utah Mountain Adventures during the weeks of June 13th and June 27th.  Bodhi will be in there.  These camps are great for getting the kids into climbing. 

Check out this video, it is so fun for kids too.  We love taking other families.  

Email or call me if you are interested in a trip.  [email protected], 206-920-7849

  1. FREE 3-6-9 Cleanse

It is so important to cleanse our livers to stay healthy and strong.  I am doing a cleanse coming up in May.  If you want to join, great.  It will be free.  You just need to get the Cleanse to Heal book.  I will be posting about my prep, how to do the cleanse, and the journey along the way.  There will be lots of options to fit your needs.  Email me if you are interested.

  1. Healthy Habits Course 

I will be running a 12 week course this summer starting in mid-June.  People that have participated years ago still tell me how they have there habits that support a much happier and healthier lifestyle.  Click here to check it out. 

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Meet Winslow

Winslow Passey

I am a guide on the mountains and in life for people. I believe we are capable of way more than we realize.

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